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Hawaii is a classic bucket list destination, offering a little something for every type of traveler. The idyllic tropical paradise bursts with stunning natural landscapes, picturesque white sand beaches, turquoise waters, a plethora of marine life, and so much more! It’s the perfect place to enjoy a laid-back vacation spent relaxing on beaches, or an adventurous getaway spent exploring the varied natural features of the state’s seven islands. Whether you’re a nature lover, an extreme sports enthusiast, a beach bum, an animal lover, or all of the above, you’ll be sure to find plenty of ways to enjoy your vacation in the Aloha State.
Hawaii is an archipelago made up of eight main islands. Each of the eight islands is totally unique from the rest, with its own culture, geography, and offerings. To discover Hawaii’s modern and urban center with popular attractions and world-famous beaches, head to Oahu, where you’ll also find the state’s capital, Honolulu. Nature lovers, hikers, and outdoors enthusiasts should head straight over to Kauai where you can explore the otherworldly landscapes and wild beaches. The Big Island boasts a laid-back vibe with tropical fruit farms, jungles, volcanoes, and black sand beaches. Maui is for lovers with its romantic atmosphere, postcard-worthy beaches, and famed road trip routes. If you want nothing other than to relax in a hammock to the sounds of waves from your own private bungalow, don’t miss out on a chance to visit the less touristy, yet stunningly beautiful, island of Lanai. Explore rugged, untouched nature on the island of Molokai, which also happens to be the birthplace of hula dancing.
As you can see, each island offers something unique, and regardless of your interests and travel priorities, you’ll be sure to find what you’re looking for among the eight spectacular islands of Hawaii!
World-class waves for surfers of all experience levels
Have you always dreamed of learning how to ride a wave? Or perhaps you’re already a seasoned surfer? Regardless of your experience level when it comes to surfing, renting a board and riding a wave is a must for anyone visiting Hawaii!
One of the best things to do in Hawaii, it is by far one of the most memorable and quintessential places in the world to rent a board and catch a wave. This world-class surfing destination is brimming with point breaks and beach breaks, with waves and bays for surfers of all levels.
Launiupoko State Wayside Park on the island of Maui is one of the best places to visit in Hawaii for beginner surfers. The enormous beach park is located on the west side of the island and boasts plenty of features for visitors to enjoy. Rent a board and surf the gentle waves, which are particularly perfect for first-timers or cautious learners. Grab a boogie board or simply swim around in the clear waters. There’s a green, grassy park with picnic tables and BBQ pits where you can enjoy a nice outdoor meal after you’ve finished your water activities. Be sure not to miss out on the stellar sunsets here.
For surfers of all levels, Kiahuna Beach in Kauai is one of the most spectacular surfing locations in all of Hawaii. The large crescent-shaped beach with soft, golden sands is framed by coconut palms. It’s an excellent place to opt for surfing lessons or to rent a board to ride the mild to moderate waves. The waves here are quite small, making them suitable for beginner surfers. Advanced surfers can venture further away from the shore to find larger waves. It’s a popular location for bodyboarding and swimming too. Be sure to stay for the golden, radiant sunsets here. If you get lucky, you might even spot a sea turtle or two.
To experience one of the most popular surfing locations in Oahu, don’t miss out on the waves at the ever-popular Diamond Head Cliffs in Oahu. The long, mellow waves and deep waters are ideal for intermediate to advanced surfers, although beginner surfers can enjoy guided surf lessons here too. Enjoy the spectacular scenery of this beach while you embark on an action-packed day filled with wave riding!
Surfing is by far one of the most popular and fun things to do in Hawaii, whether you’ll be traveling as a couple, a group of friends, or as a family with kids. Don’t forget to carve out some time to catch some waves during your vacation.
Visit famous Hawaii film set locations in real-life
Film and TV lovers, this is your chance to visit some spectacular film locations from famous movies that were shot in Hawaii! Countless Hollywood movie scenes were filmed in Hawaii, and you can visit the actual locations where the filming took place once you’re here.
To all the Jurassic Park fans out there, in Kauai you can visit the otherworldly landscapes where these legendary films were created. Kauai is home to breathtaking and unique land formations, including jagged green mountain peaks which tower over the sea, stunning waterfalls, and dense jungles. Visit Manawaiopuna Falls, Olokele Valley, and the Blue Hole in Kauai to experience the mystifying film set locations in real life.
If you’re a rom-com lover, you’ve probably watched 50 First Dates. Did you know it was filmed in Hawaii? Oahu to be specific. To visit the exact movie set locations, do a little self-guided tour around the island to these locations: Makapu’u Point Lighthouse, Sea Life Park, and the Dole Plantation. Aside from being movie set locations, each of these points is a fun attraction to visit with unique activities to enjoy at each one! Rom-com lovers are probably also familiar with the hit classic Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which was also filmed in Oahu at Turtle Bay Resort, which is around an hour away from Honolulu.
The comedy-drama, The Descendents, was filmed in Oahu and Kauai in 2011. Do a self-guided tour to the Lihue Airport, Kipu Kai, and Tahiti Nui to see some of your favorite film scene locations in real life!
It’s no surprise that Hawaii, with its lush tropical landscapes and breathtaking scenery, has been used as a film set location for countless Hollywood films and movies. Going on a self-guided adventure to visit the various film set locations around the islands is by far one of the exciting things to do in Hawaii.
For nature lovers: the best place to discover Hawaii’s diverse wildlife
Want to experience the fascinating marine life species and wildlife of Hawaii all in one place? Sea Life Park in Oahu is an excellent choice for animal enthusiasts, nature lovers, and families with kids. Set on the stunning coastline on the eastern tip of the island, this marine mammal park, bird sanctuary, and aquarium houses an impressive number of engaging, educational exhibits and up-close animal encounters. It’s one of the best things to do in Hawaii with kids!
Interact with real dolphins, sharks, sea lions, Hawaiian Rays, and more alongside expert trainers. Learn stories about the different marine life species and fascinating fun facts you’ve never heard before. Watch a trainer show you what it takes to care for a dolphin, and learn about the park’s conservation efforts to protect these sacred creatures. Do a tour to learn about different seaweed species and enjoy educational encounters with a variety of your favorite animals. Kids can enjoy a touch pool where they can carefully have hands-on experiences with a variety of different reef life species under the expert supervision of a trainer. The different education programs at Sea Life Park aim to make learning about the sea a fun and memorable experience for all ages!
You can spend the entire day at the park, going from one exciting activity to the next. Between all the fun and action, you’ll be sure to work up quite the appetite, and conveniently located within the park, you’ll find a range of family-friendly dining options to choose from. Want to try some local-style dishes? Head over to Kau Kau Kitchen. For a quick and nostalgic snack, grab a hot dog (opt for the Hawaiian-style!) from Pink’s Hollywood. Relax with a cold drink in hand at the Longboard Lounge, or head over to Wiki Wiki Snack Bar for a delicious sweet treat.
After you’ve enjoyed a satisfying meal, go for a leisurely shopping session at the park’s many gift shops. Shop for Aloha-inspired products, jewelry, soaps, unique gifts, and boutique items at the Seaside Boutique. Head to Adventure Center to grab a unique souvenir to remember your day at the park filled with unforgettable animal encounters. Kids will love exploring the park’s main Gift Shop, which sells plush animals, toys, Hawaiian-themed items, hula accessories, and more!
Sea Life Park offers a range of tickets and season pass options with varying perks and benefits. Will you be visiting just for the day? Opt for a single day ticket. Want to enjoy the best bang for your buck and explore all the park has to offer with multiple visits? Browse the many season pass options.
There are multiple ways to enjoy discounted deals on your next park visit. Group visits receive discounted admission rates, and buying your ticket in advance is one of the best ways to save big on your visit! Children under 12 years old receive discounted rates on single day tickets and annual passes. Our best value season passes pay for themselves in just a few visits! Plus, pass holders get to enjoy exclusive benefits, like admission to special events and other perks.
What are you waiting for? Your Hawaii trip isn’t complete until you’ve visited the marine animals and adventures at Sea Life Park! Go for yourself to see why it’s one of the best places to visit in Hawaii.